MIDDLE EAST

Turkey's border areas cleared of terrorists: PM

TURKEYS BORDER AREAS CLEARED OF TERRORISTS: PM

Turkey's southeastern border areas have been cleared of terrorists, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.

"Afrin is surrounded. We have cleared all nearby border areas of terror nests," Yildirim said during ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's provincial congress in central Konya.

Yildirim said Turkish soldiers, special forces, gendarmerie forces, police officers, and Free Syrian Army advance "step by step" in Afrin.

He added that Turkish soldiers have been conducting "successful" land and air operations.

"Our Turkish soldiers are making history in Afrin. They also cleared Rajo [town in Afrin] of terrorists," he added.

Yildirim added Turkey will eliminate any threat against border security, territorial integrity, and security of life and property.

"Wherever there is a terror threat, it is a target for us. Today Afrin, tomorrow any other place," he said.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

"These operations, this struggle is actually also for the peace of Europe. It is also needed for global peace in the world. Those, who cooperate with terrorists, endanger peace in the region," Yildirim said.

He said innocent civilians in Syria and Iraq had suffered a lot at the hands of terrorist organisations.

"Turkey wants peace and stability to dominate our region. We want this bloodshed and tears to end," he added.

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